Rimrock II, LLC/Jones Construction, Inc, 4040 King Ave W, Com Addition, $1,737,080

Tande, Bradley C & Leeann/Jones, Tim O – General Contractor, 768 Fallow Ln, Com Fence/Roof/Siding, $16,000

Sysco Food Services Of Montana/Centimark Corp, 1509 Monad Rd, Com Fence/Roof/Siding, $915,000

City Of Billings (Airport)/Larsen, G. A. Inc., 2903 Overlook Dr, Com New Other, $615,000

 Rimrock II, LLC/Jones Construction, Inc, 4040 King Ave W, Com New Parking Lot/Non-Building Structure,  $75,000

West End Commercial Properties/Jorden, Ed – General Contractor, 3737 Grand Ave, Com Remodel, $40,000

NA/Jorden, Ed – General Contractor, 27 Shiloh Rd, Com Remodel, $85,000

1400 S 24th LLC/Sunleaf, Steve – General Contractor, 1400 S 24th St W, Com Remodel, $700,000

City Of Billings/Ace Electric, Inc. – Electrical Contractor, 401 S 29th St W, Com Remodel, $596,530

Helvetica Billings 27 LLC/Kenco Enterprises, Inc., 1537 Avenue D, Com Remodel, $10,000

Helvetica Billings 27 LLC/Hintt, Kevin – General Contractor, 1537 Avenue D, Com Remodel, $20,000

Sisters Of Charith Of Leavenworth/Alberts (Sr Vp/Cfo), Dave – General Contractor, 1233 N 30th St, Com Remodel,   .$2,021,342

Jay Foley Properties, L.L.C/Jones Construction, Inc, 1720 Lampman Dr, Addition, $1,515,540 

First Southern Baptist Church/Murray, Ryan – Roofing Contractor, 328 S Shiloh Rd, Roofing, $66,500

Town And Country Supply Association/ Sprague/Cathey, Jack/Phill – General Contractor, 2490 Gabel Rd, Roofing, $44,000

Sisters Of Charity Of Leavenwo/Bauer Construction, 44 Wicks Ln, Roofing, $32,000

Youth Dynamics Inc/Simons, Cory – General Contractor, 1250 15th St W, Roofing, $15,808

Windmill Properties Llc/Bradford Management Inc – General Contractor, 1540 13th St W, Roofing, $25,780

GMD Development Homeword, 311 Starner Ln, Remodel, $18,500

GMD Development Homeword, 305 Starner Ln, Remodel, $18,500

GMD Development Homeword, 237 Starner Ln, Remodel, $18,500

GMD Development Homeword, 231 Starner Ln, Remodel, $18,500

NA, 225 Starner Ln, Remodel, $18,500

GMD Development Homeword, 219 Starner Ln, Remodel, $18,500

GMD Development Homeword, 211 Starner Ln, Remodel, $18,500

GMD Development Homeword, 205 Starner Ln, Remodel, $18,500

Rimrock Owner Lp/Cucancic Construction Inc, 316 S 24th St W, $25,000

Sisters Of Charity Of Leavenwo/Merry, Andy – General Contractor, 1141 N 28th St, Remodel, $40,000

Sysco Food Services Of Montana/Centimark Corp, 1509 Monad Rd, Remodel, $915,00

City Of Billings/Langlas & Assoc., Inc., 2801 3rd Ave N, Com Addition, $7,360,000

RPS, Llc/Ferch, Timothy – General Contractor, 2505 Montana Ave, Com Remodel, $6,500

NA/Stock Construction Company, 223 Shiloh Rd, Com Remodel, $67,900

NA/Stock Construction Company, 223 Shiloh Rd, Com Remodel, $59,001

NA/Stock Construction Company, 223 Shiloh Rd, Com Remodel, $150,000

NA/Stock Construction Company, 223 Shiloh Rd  Com Remodel, $40,000

Tru 2005 Re I Llc/Langlas & Assoc., Inc.640 S 24th St W, Com Remodel – Change In Use, $1,000,000

Western Livestock Reporter/Cop Construction Llc – General Contractor, 112 S 18th St, Demolition Permit Commercial, $36,510

Phillips 66 Company/Cop Construction Llc – General Contractor, 1910 Minnesota Ave, Demolition Permit Commercial, $285,00


Eddleman, Terri J & Robert L/Van Arsdale, Kim – General Contractor, 711 N 32nd St, Res New Garage, $43,152

NA/Mccall James, – General Contractor, 6005 Catherina Ct, Res New Garage, $41,472

Jesse Arstein/Jesse’s Old To New, 844 Governors Blvd, Res New Single Family, $326,648

Trailhead Builders Inc/Kowalski, Angela – General Contractor, 4538 Payton Trl, Res New Single Family,      $239,844

Coffin, Stacy T & Brandy J/Dirk Arnold Construction, 1121 N 32nd St, Res New Accessory Structure, $37,632

Infinity Homes/Wanner, Levi – General Contractor, 1422 Topanga Ave, Res New Single Family, $200,614

Rimrock Builders/Fuchs, Shane – General Contractor, 4642 Elk Ridge Trl, Res New Single Family, $375,000

Copper Ridge West Inc/Fortner, Lanissa – General Contractor, 7010 Copper View Way, Res New Single Family,   $313,62

Burke, Michael & Sherril F, 2101 Locust St, Res New Garage, $32,400  

Sinhold, Nikolas, 1025 Cottonwood Blvd, Res New Garage, $43,776

J & J Boyer LLC/Design Builders, Inc., 2140 S Stone Creek Trl, Res New Single Family, $343,115

Haney, Bill D & Mitzie L/Cougar Construction, 330 Annandale Rd, Res New Single Family, $476,168

The Montana Department of Transportation (MDT) will be constructing sidewalk along approximately 0.76 miles of Becraft Lane in Lockwood, starting Sept. 9 The project begins at the intersection of Becraft Lane and Old Hardin Road and runs east on the north side of Becraft Lane to the intersection of Becraft Lane and Noblewood Drive.

Work includes construction of Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliant concrete sidewalk. The purpose of the project is to provide safety and pedestrian protection that is needed in the Lockwood community.  The sidewalk on Becraft Lane will remove pedestrians from the roadway and alleviate current vehicular conflict with pedestrians.

The project is being funded with Federal Highway Administration Transportation Alternative funds and Lockwood Pedestrian Safety District funds.  The project is being constructed by Riverside Contracting, Inc.

Construction is anticipated between September 9 and November 29.  Sidewalk construction across driveways may, for a short period of time, limit access to these driveways.  An attempt will be made to coordinate this activity with homeowners.  Those using Becraft Lane should anticipate flaggers and lane shifts.

For more information, please contact Billings Construction Engineer Ted Thronson at (406) 657-0210 or Billings Engineering Project Manager Christopher Trautmann at (406)  657-0277.

Whether the TEDD in Lockwood will be able to move forward in the development of a successful industrial park is currently in doubt.

The TEDD (Targeted Economic Development District) is a tax increment finance district created to help fund the creation of a “turn –key” facility for industry to locate and expand in Yellowstone County. It is located at the intersection of Johnson Lane and Interstate Highway 89, outside the city limits of Billings.

Concern about whether the City of Billings will be able to capture property tax revenue, as the industrial park develops in the future has prompted Billings City Administrator Chris Kukulski to insist that property owners within the TEDD waive their right to protest any future annexation proposal, before agreeing to expand the boundaries of the Lockwood Water and Sewer District. Acquiring water and sewer service will be essential to facilitate the success of the industrial park, which therefore necessitates expanding district boundaries to include it.

Property owners are refusing to relinquish their protest rights, which leaves the future prospects for the TEDD uncertain, according to Woody Woods, a member of the TEDD Advisory Board. Woods explained the situation in a report to county commissioners about the next year’s work plan for the TEDD.

Woods told the commissioners that the TEDD Advisory Board will be sending them a formal letter expressing their concerns and asking that they take up the matter with the city. The County Commissioners hold the ultimate authority in administering the TEDD.

Formation of the TEDD / industrial park was spearheaded by Big Sky Economic Development in a process that began some three years ago. The project was initiated by BSED following a feasibility study which identified the need for an industrial park in Yellowstone County that would provide the infrastructure that would give potential new industry the ability to locate quickly and easily in the Billings area.

The Lockwood site was identified as the best prospect for such development, located as it is with easy access to transportation such as the railroad and the interstate, as well as utilities. The proposed Billings bypass which will begin construction this fall will advance construction over the next two years to pass through the TEDD.

The development plan for the industrial park is dependent upon the LWSD expanding its boundaries to include it within its service area. However, the Lockwood Water and Sewer District has an agreement for sewage treatment with the City of Billings that requires city approval to expand the district’s boundaries.

Under that agreement the Lockwood sewer district pays the city for sewage treatment based upon the level of use, and in addition the district pays the city a monthly reserve capacity fee for potential future expansion. That fee has fluctuated since the agreement went into effect in 2008, but is currently $21,491 a month, plus a monthly surcharge of six percent, which brings the total monthly payment to about $23,000.

In a conversation the county commissioners had with Kukulski a couple months ago, they posed a unified front in opposing the idea of annexation.

Woods said that the BSED will also be sending a letter to the City Council expressing their opposition to  efforts to force the property owners to accept future annexation.

Several years ago the City of Billings declined the idea of annexing Lockwood after conducting an assessment of the costs involved to bring its infrastructure up to standards. City officials at that time said the expense would greatly exceed any potential tax revenues they would receive from Lockwood property taxes.

County Commissioner John Ostlund replied to Woody Woods that “it doesn’t seem to make a lot of sense to incorporate industrial properties into the city because it takes away the opportunity to recruit business to develop in areas of lower taxes. If they are going to do that, what is the point of having a TEDD?”

He said there is a reason that the state legislature exempted industrial properties from forced annexation into cities.

In something of a déjà vu, renovations have begun on the former Evergreen IGA grocery store at 1540 13th St West, to convert it into a new King’s Ace Hardware Store. It will be owner Skip King’s sixth store in the Billings area.

But having a hardware store in mid-town Billings, is not a new idea. In the early 60s, the Odegaard family operated, quite successfully, a hardware store at the same location. King believes a need for a hardware store to serve that neighborhood still exists and he has set aside other business plans, so as not to lose an opportunity to locate a hardware store there. “We are excited to build on a traditional legacy, and to be a part of that community,” said King.

Recognizing that people who live in the heavy residential area between Grand Avenue and the Rims must travel some distance to get to a hardware store, King had long contemplated the idea of locating a store in the area. When he had an inkling that the IGA store might be closing, he initiated negotiations to lease the building. The plan fell into place so quickly and easily, King said he was left asking himself “what have I done,” because it hadn’t really been part of his immediate plans. He is enthusiastically forging ahead, however, with the goal of being able to open the store in February.

To open Evergreen King’s Ace Hardware in time for the spring growing season is important because the new store will feature an extensive lawn and garden center.

With some 34,000 square feet, the store will end up being the largest King’s Ace Hardware store.  It will certainly have the largest parking lot.

Evergreen King’s Ace Hardware will be similar to the Zimmerman Trail store – a full service hardware store, but also featuring a Hallmark gift store and a Montana-made boutique. It will also have a huge pet department, outdoor power equipment, a “big grilling and patio section”, with space to spare, about which King said, “we are going to grow into the space.”

Contractors are currently removing the cabinets and flooring, and will soon be installing new flooring, new doors, a new roof and a new HVAC unit. Painting will start in a couple of weeks and new LED lights will be installed. Signs have been ordered and will go up as soon as they arrive. The parking lot will be crack seal and coated.  Merchandising will begin in December.

In the meantime eight employees for the new store have already been hired. Mike Albertson has been named store manager and the assistant manager will be Tyler Powers.

The store will employ a total of some 20 to 25 people, who will be trained and ready to go at the opening. One of the advantages of having other stores, said King, is that employees can be training in advance.

Said King about his business, “I want to be the best hardware store we possibly can be. Our business model at Ace is to have good help and to be helpful to our customers. We live by that, because there are too many other places people can go. We have to be helpful.”

 King announced that the company’s store at 4170 State Avenue has been undergoing extensive renovation this summer and is nearing completion. They have doubled the size of the parking lot, modernized it and added another register – and “it’s stuffed full of inventory.”

Next year the Laurel King Ace Hardware Store will be remodeled. “Laurel is growing too,” said King.

Alter Ego will be the headline entertainment at the Billings Clinic Foundation’s Street Party on Broadway Ave. for the 2019 Billings Clinic Classic, Saturday, Aug. 24. The theme of this year is Urban Classic, playing on the street party setting and classic downtown Billings elements. Proceeds benefit the Sustainable Fund for the Psychiatric Services Residency Program at Billings Clinic, Montana’s first and only psychiatry residency program. Alter Ego, from Montreal, Canada, is North America’s top party band.  Kicking off the evening will be Arterial Drive, a six-member band from Billings, who will perform during a festive cocktail pre-party. The 2019 Classic will be held outside on Broadway Ave., between 3rd Avenue North and 4th Avenue North. Billings Clinic Classic tickets range in price from $100-$200.

Registration is now open for the 16th Annual Young Ag Leadership Conference (YALC)! The conference is set for October 4-6 at the Copper King Convention Center in Butte. YALC is a collaborative effort between nine of Montana’s agricultural organizations, offering attendees a chance to discuss current ag issues, take part in various workshops, meet with industry leaders, and network with fellow young people. Anyone aged 18-40 and interested or involved in agriculture is encouraged to attend. The cost of registration is $50 including all meals provided. After the pre-registration date of September 25, fees increase to $60. To register, go to   and search Young Ag Leadership Conference.  Contact Leah Johnson at (406) 733-2079 or for questions. 

Whalen Tire is expanding and building a new store in Lockwood, having closed their downtown location.

Whalen Tire actually opened at the Lockwood location six years ago. During the past six years they have been doing business out of two locations – at 2539 Old Hardin Road and at the corner of North 24th Street and First Avenue North.

They have since closed the downtown store and are in the process of selling the property.

Expansion of the Lockwood store includes adding two service bays which will allow them to expand the services they offer to include alignments. They are also expanding the warehouse. Whalen Tire sells numerous brands of tires for almost any kind of vehicle from large semi-trucks and construction equipment to cars, including going into the field to deliver and service their product.

Whalen Tires is a substantially large company with locations in Butte, Helena, Bozeman, Belgrade, Dillon, Great Falls, Missoula and Spokane, as well as Billings. Company-wide they employ some 150 people, including ten at the Lockwood store. The company is owned by Tom Whalen and headquartered in Butte. The company was founded by Tom’s father, the late “Tike” Whalen in Butte in 1964.

The Lockwood store is managed by Kim Christophersen and Jeremy  Azure.

According to Christophersen, prompting the decision to move to Lockwood was the realization that going east there are no tire supply businesses. “Once you leave Billings,” he said, “there is no tire service until Miles City or Sheridan, Wyoming. Also, the location has easy access to the interstate highway.

The growth they have experienced over the past six years has proven that it was a good decision.

Sheriff Mike Linder is sending a letter to the state Department of Corrections (DOC) to inform them that the actual cost to Yellowstone County to house a prisoner is $77.22 a day – not the $69.31 that the Montana State Legislature set as a cap of what the state will pay. The real cost is actually higher than that, said Linder, but the state will not allow capital costs to be calculated into the per diem rate.

The state is asking the county for a contract to confirm the rate and Yellowstone County officials are not too sure what such a contract would really do. Some counties have refused to enter into a contract, said Linder. Others, such as Gallatin County, refuse to accept state prisoners.

Deputy County Attorney Kevin Gillen said that such a contract is called “a contract of adhesion.”  “You take it or you leave it,” he said.

In a discussion, on Monday, county officials concluded that they will accept a contract with the state but the bills that they send to the state will include the real per diem cost of housing prisoners, even though they know they will only get paid the lower sum. This way there will be a record of what it is really costing, they concluded. The finance department estimated that the county stands to lose about $45,000 annually through the lower rate, based upon 2017 figures.

The state’s rate of $69.31 is actually a new rate – 31 cents higher than what the state has been paying.

Four years ago the state was paying $76.94 a day, but during a session in which the budget was very tight, legislators arbitrarily lowered the rate, and now they seem to like it there.

The good news, said Linder, is it will go up another 30 cents a day, in another year.

The federal government pays Yellowstone County a per diem rate of $97. When Yellowstone County holds prisoners for other counties those counties pay $100 a day, which includes the capital costs associated with building and maintaining the Yellowstone County Detention Facility. The City of Billings also pays $100 a day if the prisoner being held is being held on a violation of city ordinances rather than state laws – there are usually few of those. The city pays nothing on inmates charged with violations of state law since the city is part of Yellowstone County and taxpayers do pay public safety mill levies.

Gillen commented that what the DOC is really doing is “parking people in jail” because the state doesn’t have the capacity. He suggested that, while accepting the lower per diem rate, the county can insist that they get inmates out of the county jail in a more timely fashion.

No county is required to accept prisoners from the state. The prisoners are usually people who were county prisoners until they were prosecuted and sentenced in court, at which point they become “state prisoners.”

The number of prisoners held at the county by the state have declined, but said Gillen the trend is that they are released from state custody sooner without probation, which leaves them free to return and “re-offend”, at which point they again become the county’s problem.

On any given day the county holds between 40 and 50 state prisoners.

Montana State Fund (MSF), Montana’s largest workers’ compensation insurance company, presented a check worth nearly $540,000 to the Montana Building Industry Association (MBIA). The check is in recognition of MBIA’s GRIP program (Group Retention Insurance Program) and their superior efforts to improve workplace safety. Approximately 250 of MBIA’s 1500 members participate in the program which is designed to reduce on-the-job accidents through safety training and awareness. Montana is near the highest in the nation in workplace accidents and fatalities, and the construction industry is one of the most dangerous.

“Montana State Fund applauds the efforts and determination of the Montana Building Industry Association’s GRIP program to reduce workplace accidents and send their workers home safely at the end of the day,” said Laurence Hubbard, President and CEO of MSF. “It is commitment like theirs that will have a lasting and meaningful impact on Montana’s workplace safety culture.”

MBIA Executive Director, Steve Snezek said “MBIA’s GRIP program has a strategic vision to reduce on-the-job accidents and fatalities. We know Montana, and especially the construction industry, leads the nation in these types of incidents. MBIA’s GRIP program is designed to reduce the occurrence of accidents and we are grateful to have a partner like Montana State Fund in this endeavor. The program is working, and this check proves that safety pays.”

The MBIA GRIP program has been in existence with MSF since 1997 and has resulted in nearly $6M in returns to deserving policyholders who are committed to operating a safe workplace.

The Federal Communications Commission granted formal approval July 15 for the transfer of six radio station licenses from Connoisseur Media to Desert Mountain Broadcasting of Billings. Desert Mountain Broadcasting is owned by Billings native Cameron C. Maxwell and was founded in July of 2018.  Radio stations involved in the sale are:

  • KPLN-FM (Planet 106.7)
  • KWMY-FM (MY-105.9)
  • KRZN-FM (96.3 The Zone)
  • KRKX-FM (94.1 K-SKY)
  • KYYA-AM (News/Talk 730 KYYA)
  • KBLG-AM (ESPN 910 KBLG AM). 

Maxwell said that the $3 million-dollar acquisition will benefit the Billings economy. “I partnered with local banks, local attorneys, accountants, insurance agencies and others to make this a smooth, successful transition,” he said, adding “It will bring about job creation in the future as we move forward.  And, being a completely local radio group will strengthen our brand and our commitment to our listeners.  Radio is a very intimate medium, connecting listeners to their community – and local radio does that best.  We look forward to serving our friends, clientele and business partners in the years ahead.”

Desert Mountain Broadcasting expects to announce additional acquisitions in the near future.

The 80 MW Grizzly Wind and Black Bear Wind projects proposed for Stillwater County is now able to proceed, with the Public Service Commission having taken final action, to establish contract rates and terms between the developers and NorthWestern Energy.

The two projects were designated Qualifying Facilities (QFs) by federal law, thus requiring NWE to purchase all their combined 160 MW of output on a “must take” basis.  When as in this case, negotiations break down, it’s the PSC’s job to conduct a docketed investigation, and establish the length, rates and terms of the contract based on the evidence. 

The “PURPA” statute requires that utility customers pay no more for the QF power than they would be paying for the next generating plant the utility would otherwise build for itself.  Termed “avoided cost”, the commission goes through a lengthy and involved process of calculations and forecasting before arriving at a number determined to be as accurate as possible.

The commission set the rate NWE customers will pay for both projects’ electricity at the around-the-clock rate of $21.35 per MWH.  This rate takes into account market price projections, wind intermittency (requiring ancillary services), capacity contribution, interconnection costs and a variety of other factors.

Commissioners wrestled with several key issues before the final vote, including contract length, pricing of the QFs’ output when NorthWestern has no need and must re-sell it on the market, and whether to factor the risk of future carbon (CO2) regulation into the rates.  The commission settled on a 15-year contract, market prices for unneeded energy, and a disallowance of any carbon costs added to the rates.

“While the two projects were pressing for 25-year level-price contracts, we believed that was excessively long, and burdened the rate-payer with unjustified risk,” said Commissioner Tony O’Donnell, (R-Billings.)  “There are entirely too many factors that can change dramatically over 25 years, to have any chance of arriving at an accurate and equitable avoided cost rate.”

Commissioner Roger Koopman, (R-Bozeman), addressed the proposed $2.23 carbon adder (a tax of sorts on renewable-generated electrons in lieu of CO2 penalties/taxes imposed on fossil fuel generation which the renewable user otherwise avoids).

“There is no carbon regulation in Montana.  Any way you cut it, we cannot charge ratepayers for something that does not exist, on the sheer speculation that someday it might,” he said.